Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.
Gjallarhorn was everything to everyone in Destiny. If you had it, you were untouchable. If you didn’t have it, you spent your days trying to get it. It was an exotic rocket launcher so abominably powerful it became a golden ticket to endgame content. In many ways, it made a mockery of the checks and balances of Destiny itself.
In a game built on fantastical weapons, what made Gjallarhorn so special? Simply put, it rinsed every boss in an instant. A fireteam of three or six, all equipped with Gjallarhorn, was a DPS machine capable of disintegrating even Destiny’s most impressive endgame bosses in the blink of an eye.
The rocket launcher came with a unique perk known as ‘Wolfpack Rounds’. This caused its payload, a single rocket, to detonate into many smaller explosives that would cluster on the target. You didn’t really need to be good at aiming. It would track a target for obliteration, making it a mighty tool for both PvE and PvP.
Sounds awesome, right? I’m sure anyone reading this that played Destiny has fond memories of Gjallarhorn in its heyday. But it wasn’t so rosy for everyone. Gjallarhorn, as an exotic weapon, relied on Destiny’s RNG system, which would award rare weapons after high-level activities. To get it, you had to run grueling weekly activities or buy it from the exotic vendor, Xur.
Xur sold Gjallarhorn for a brief window in the second week of Destiny’s release. It became a bit of a running joke that Xur would never sell the rocket launcher ever again, and when he finally did, in August of 2015, Destiny’s community celebrated it like a national holiday.
Your other option was to try your hand in the Nightfall, a much tougher version of the game’s strikes, or complete the raid. To do this, you needed a couple well-trained pals to come with you. These activities didn’t offer in-game matchmaking (and still don’t in Destiny 2), so if you didn’t have friends that played the game, you had to hit up one of Destiny’s web-based matchmaking systems, LFG (Looking For Group). Over in LFG, other players who were searching for groups would post their upcoming activities for others to join. It was a great way to get involved in the more team-based activities, or even have someone Sherpa your group through the difficult parts of the raid.
But LFG had a catch: most groups on LFG would only accept players who owned Gjallarhorn. The rocket launcher was so powerful it could massively reduce the time required to complete high-level activities, and so players looking to maximize their runs wouldn’t play with players without it. If you were running these activities to get yourself a Gjallarhorn, you were a bit screwed.
Even if you did run these high-level activities, it wasn’t guaranteed you’d get a Gjallarhorn at the end of it. In fact, it was incredibly unlikely. The drop rate was low, as it was for many exotics and raid legendaries, but Gjallarhorn was another level of rare. So imagine the relief, the happiness, the pure joy you feel when that Gjallerhorn finally drops.
I remember the exact moment it dropped for me, after months and months of running raids and strikes. My partner, a friend, and I decided to take on the Crota’s End raid as only a trio. This was the easiest, most cheeseable raid in the game, and it wasn’t too painful to run even solo. We pushed through the depths of darkness, surrounded by thrall, leapt over the bridge, and got past all the hive in a swift manner. Finally, we were at Crota, son of Oryx, the final challenge. We bashed him to bits in an instant and up pops Gjallarhorn on my screen.
The feeling of relief was immense. Members of my raid group were genuinely teary-eyed when this rocket launcher finally dropped for them, and so was I. Looking back, it’s a funny thing to have an in-game item mean so much, but that first time my entire raid group went out hunting with our Gjallarhorns combined might, we had a whale of a time. We’d made it into Destiny’s upper echelons, achieved the impossible.
Turns out the impossible would actually be trying to get to the Lighthouse in Trials of Osiris, but that’s a story for another time.